Hidden Barriers to Happiness Blog

Have you always wondered about the invisible forces that affect your health, wealth, relationships and happiness?

For over 25 years, first as a neuroscientist, then epidemiologist, and now as a Holistic Brain Health Practitioner, I’ve been passionate about identifying underlying causes of mental and cognitive health challenges.  This blog reveals my discoveries from my academic training, my passion for functional medicine, psychology, sociology, energy medicine and what I’ve learned from identifying secrets held by the subconscious.

If you want more health, wealth, better relationships and more happiness, find out what could be getting in the way!      When you sign up to get my Top 10 Tips for a Happy & Healthy Brain, you’ll also get 2-4 newsletters per month featuring my blog, “Hidden Barriers to Happiness”.  

What are you waiting for?  Knowledge is power!

Why is change sometimes so damn hard?

Posted by on Jan 15, 2020 in change, growth, habits, resiliency, subconscious barriers, success, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Why is change sometimes so damn hard?

Why is change sometimes so damn hard?

For some of us, there is an area of our life where change seems too damn hard. Maybe it’s getting healthy, maybe it’s changing that pesky habit, maybe it’s getting that promotion. We look to friends or others in social media who are succeeding in those realms, and think, “they have no idea how hard it is!” and “why is it so easy for them?”.

Change is hard because of our expectations.

We tend to think that we should see a linear relationship between our efforts and our results. In other words, more efforts, more results.

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Three Important Discoveries from Nature’s Medicine for your Brain and Mood

Posted by on Dec 30, 2019 in EMFs, energy medicine, environmental affects, Integrative, integrative, microbiome, pollution | 0 comments

Three Important Discoveries from Nature’s Medicine for your Brain and Mood

Ever since I immersed myself in the field of health sciences over 25 years ago, I’ve been passionate about understanding how regular day-to-day exposures and habits affect our mental and cognitive health.

With the closing of a decade, I thought I might mention 3 discoveries/areas of research in natural medicine, or actually nature’s medicine, that have the capacity to offer profound benefits to our health, if widely shared.   What are they?

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From Caregiver Burnout to Empowerment

Posted by on Dec 15, 2019 in balance, caregiving, healthy boundaries | 0 comments

From Caregiver Burnout to Empowerment

Caregiver burnout for Annie

My client *Annie had a very demanding mother.  She’d find any excuse she could to get Annie to come help her.  Then when Annie would go fix her latest problem, she’d complain about how she had no one to help her.  Her mom also constantly complained about how lonely she was, and she’d regularly accuse my client of not spending enough time with her.   While she could have asked the people she lived with to help, her mom wouldn’t ask them to help her.  It seemed the only person she wanted help from was her daughter, and Annie felt like she could never please her mom.

Annie was tired of being sucked into her mom’s drama.   (more…)

Changing Minds and the BackFire Effect

Posted by on Nov 30, 2019 in beliefs, persuasion, skepticism, thoughts | 0 comments

Changing Minds and the BackFire Effect

I Couldn’t Believe!

I remember a few years ago when talking to a chiropractor, he told me about John of God from Brazil.  John of God is a healer who channels many spirit guides to commit a huge range of medical miracles.  The chiropractor told me that John of God attracts thousands of people from all over the world.  He told me about the experience, how he had to wait in long lines to see him.  He described the “visible operation” he had chosen, and told me that he had been cured.   The story seemed so beyond my belief system that I developed an unfavorable view of this chiropractor.   I was so uncomfortable with the story that I wanted to roll my eyes and run away.   I kept my distance from him (for other reasons as well) after that.

This isn’t the only time I’ve run from information presented to me.  I rolled my eyes at the Law of Attraction for years!  And when someone told me in the early 90’s that physicians had done a hemispherectomy on a child, and that it wasn’t expected to result in serious consequences, again, I rolled my eyes, and decided that he was rather naive.

I’m not the only one that runs from information that falls outside of their belief systems!

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Opioids vs. natural pain relief

Posted by on Nov 15, 2019 in addictions, pain | 0 comments

Opioids vs. natural pain relief

How to become an opioid addict

Sally was a college student who was prescribed Nicodin (an opioid) by her doctor after a surgery to repair her foot.  At first, she just took it to relieve the pain.  But then she noticed the buzz she got and the confidence that came with it.  She started taking it simply because she liked how it made her feel.  It wasn’t long before she found she needed a higher dose to get the same effect.  So she ran out before she was due for a refill.   She went to another doctor to get more, but as she had to keep increasing her dose to get the same effect, she had to keep finding new doctors to keep up with her growing demand.

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Forgive But Don’t Forget

Posted by on Oct 30, 2019 in abuse, forgive, forgive, narcissists, relationships, toxic relationships | 0 comments

Forgive But Don’t Forget

I think the pressure to turn the other cheek (forgive) is damaging.

Why?

Yes.. Jesus turned the other cheek.

But Jesus wasn’t an abused wife of a narcissist who had been lying to her for decades about his infidelity or whereabouts.

Jesus didn’t have drug addicted or sociopathic parents, that chronically abused him.

Jesus didn’t grow up in a Romanian orphanage without loving touch, adequate food, with barely any stimulation.

And Jesus wasn’t a woman.

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A Cause of Sundowners and Psychosis

Posted by on Oct 15, 2019 in aging, Alzheimer's, Dementia, frequencies, positive energy | 0 comments

A Cause of Sundowners and Psychosis

Generating a theory of psychotic episodes and epilepsy

After watching a couple of episodes of medical mystery shows on TV, I developed a theory that episodic seizures or dissociative behavior might have to do with parts of the brain going into a hyperflammatory state.  In the show Diagnosis, little Sadie developed frequent seizures after an infection.  And in another show, several sweet children turned into periodic monsters after another infection.

This theory made sense to me because there is evidence that inflammation is being implicated in an increasing number of psychiatric conditions.   Also while low level inflammation helps cells repair, once inflammation gets too high, it can get very destructive for the surrounding tissue.

I wondered if I would get a chance to test my theory with my clients.

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Why We Need an Integrative Approach to Brain Health

Posted by on Sep 30, 2019 in energy medicine, Integrative, integrative | 2 comments

Why We Need an Integrative Approach to Brain Health

Many unanswered questions

During my graduate degree in Neuroscience in the 1990’s, the more I learned, the more I realized how young the field was.   While the lectures were comprehensive, when I’d start to try to take what I learned into real world scenarios of how these mechanisms affected the individual, there were more unanswered questions than answers.    No wonder the solutions to so many mental health, psychiatric and neurological conditions felt so inadequate!

So as a patient, when doctors would tell me that I would have to learn to just accept my condition, or alternatively that “it was all in my head”, I knew both answers meant that the doctor didn’t know how to help me.

And because they didn’t have solutions, and I wasn’t crazy about taking the drugs they were peddling, I started looking to see what Alternative Medicine had to offer.

My Search for Integrative, Holistic Brain Health

I tried acupuncture, chiropractic care, cranial sacral therapy, Body Talk, Neurofeedback, brainwave entrainment, yoga, meditation, herbs or supplements.  I adjusted my nutrition to optimize my mental and cognitive health, and maintained a well balanced exercise regimen.

But other than addressing diet and exercise, none of these methods, addressed root causes.   I believed root causes had to be addressed from more than just the traditional Western medicine point of view.   Whatever I was searching for, it had to be embracive of the wisdom imparted by healers from a variety of schools of thought.

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Her Secret to Reverse The Aging Process

Posted by on Sep 15, 2019 in aging, healthy habits, pain, sugar | 0 comments

Her Secret to Reverse The Aging Process

Getting Older Fast

When I first met Diane seven years ago, I was attracted to her warmth and her engaging stories.  She is an animal communicator, and practices Healing Touch, and I keep telling her she should write a book with all the interesting stories she tells!    But I was concerned for her.  She has several autoimmune diseases.  She struggled with walking more than a few yards due to pain and difficulty breathing.  She was taking pain medications three times a day.  She seemed old for her age, and she was in her late 50’s.

Her Secret to Reverse the Aging Process

Diane when I first met her. She was working with my cat.

Then a couple of years ago, after not seeing each other for months, we got together  for dinner, and I was stunned by her transformation.  (more…)

How our Brains Foster Wrongful Convictions

Posted by on Aug 30, 2019 in persuasion, subconscious influence, thoughts | 0 comments

How our Brains Foster Wrongful Convictions

Wrongfully convicted

Back in college my social psychology professor, Elliot Aaronson Ph.D., told us a story over 3 lectures that had us absolutely riveted. It was about a young man Bradley Nelson Page (not to be confused with Dr. Bradley Nelson), a UC Berkeley student who had been accused of murdering his girlfriend.   Dr. Aaronson led us through all the factors of the interrogation that led Page to a false confession of her murder.

That story left me with a sense of awe about how effective persuasion could be.  But it also left me profoundly disturbed about how it could be used, and the implications it had on our “justice” system.

We heard how the police used various mechanisms we discussed in class to force Page to concoct a story that allowed them to frame him.   As a college student, Page could have never imagined that the police would lie and use such manipulative tactics to force a confession!   He later recanted his confession after he was given enough space and rest to think clearly.

But his recanting wasn’t sufficient. (more…)

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